He leaned in close, as if to kiss her.
If she’d wanted to shove him away, she had ample opportunity. In no way was he forcing himself or taking advantage. She should have objected…
Instead she tilted her chin up, welcoming his kiss. When his lips brushed hers, a brilliant flash of white heat exploded behind her eyes and blinded her to common sense. A burst of passion surged, forceful and challenging. She wanted the kiss to deepen and continue for long, intense moments. She wanted to know his body in every sense of the word. Her ferocious need for him felt like nothing she’d experienced, as though they were meant to be together.
She had to be mistaken. The maid and the millionaire?
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Liz Norton – Working her way through law school, earning money as a part-time karate instructor and part-time private eye, she goes undercover as a maid.
Ben Crawford – His reputation as a millionaire adventurer masks his hard work, dedication to his family and his love for his five-year-old daughter, Natalie.
Jerod Crawford – The seventy-six-year-old patriarch of the wealthy, powerful family suffers from a brain tumour.
Charlene Crawford – Jerod’s gold-digging trophy wife has a talent for ticking people off.
Patrice and Monte Welles – Ben’s sister and her husband expect to inherit a fortune when her grandfather dies.
Al Mancini – As an almost-retired general practitioner, the doctor is out of his element in treating a brain tumour.
Tony Lansing – His drinking problem clouds his judgement as the Crawford family attorney.
Ramon Stephens – A male model, he knows everybody’s secrets.
Victoria Crawford – Ben’s estranged wife is suing for sole custody of their daughter.
Annette Peltier – Being a housemaid sparks her Cinderella dreams and fantasies.
Rachel Frakes – As housekeeper for the Crawford family, she demands perfection from her staff.
Harry Schooner – The former cop and owner of Schooner Detective Agency looks forward to retirement.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
For Cassie Miles, the best part about writing a story set in Eagle County near the Vail ski area is the ready-made excuse to head into the mountains for research. Though the winter snows are great for skiing, her favourite season is autumn, when the aspens turn gold.
The rest of the time Cassie lives in Denver, where she takes urban hikes around Cheesman Park, reads a ton and critiques often. Her current plans include a Vespa and a road trip, despite eye-rolling objections from her adult children.
To those who love guitars and wooden boats.
As always, to Rick.
Being a part-time private eye put a serious crimp in Liz Norton’s social life. At half-past eleven on a Friday night in May, she ought to be wearing lip gloss, dancing, flirting and licking the suds off a beer that somebody else had paid for. Instead, she’d spent the past two hours and seventeen minutes on stakeout with Harry Schooner, her sixty-something boss.
She slouched behind the steering wheel of Harry’s beat-up Chevy. Even with the windows cracked for ventilation, she still smelled stale hamburger buns from the crumpled bags littering the backseat. On the plus side, the cruddy, old car blended with the rundown Denver neighborhood where they were parked at the curb away from the streetlight, watching and waiting.
In the passenger seat, Harry pressed his fist against his chest and grunted.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
His digestive system provided a source of constant complaint. Long ago, she’d given up lecturing him on the evils of a strictly fast-food diet. “Did you take your pill?”
“What are you? My mother?”
“A concerned employee,” she said. “If you keel over from a heart attack, where am I going to find another job as glamorous as this one?”
He peeled off the silver wrapping on a roll of antacid tablets, popped the last one in his mouth and tossed the wrapper over his shoulder into the trashed-out backseat. “That reminds me. You’re done with your semester. Right?”
“Took my last exam two days ago.”
At age twenty-six, she’d put herself halfway through law school. The accomplishment made her proud, even though she still heard echoes of her mother’s refrain: “Why bother with an education? The only way a girl like you can make it is to find a man to support you.” This bit of advice came right before the grooming tips: “Lighten your hair, shorten your skirts and stand up straight so your boobs stick out.”
Of course, Liz did the exact opposite. Her thick, multicolored blond hair remained undyed and unstyled—except for her own occasional hacking to keep the jagged ends near chin-length. Her wardrobe included exactly one skirt—knee-length and khaki—that she’d picked up at a thrift store for a buck. Mostly, she wore jeans and T-shirts. Tonight, a faded brown one under a black windbreaker. As for Mom’s advice to show off her chest, Liz had given up on that plan long ago. Even if she arched her back like a pretzel, nobody would ever confuse her with a beauty queen.
Her twice-married mom had actually done her a favor when she’d shoved her only daughter out the door on her eighteenth birthday and told her that she was on her own.
Liz had done okay. Without a man.
Harry groaned again and shifted in the passenger seat. “You’ll come to work for me full-time during your summer break. I could use the help. I’m getting too damn old for this job.”
“Thanks, Harry.” She’d been counting on this summer job. “But I still need Monday and Wednesday nights free to teach the under-twelve kids at the karate school.”
“I got no problem with that.” He made a wheezy noise through his nostrils and shrugged his heavy shoulders. His formerly athletic physique had settled into a doughy lump. Only his close-cropped white hair suggested the discipline of long-ago military service and twenty years as a cop. “How’s my grandson doing at karate?”
“Not exactly a black belt, but he’s hanging in there.” She’d met Harry at Dragon Lou’s Karate School when he’d come to watch his six-year-old СКАЧАТЬ